FORT MYERS, Fla. - Now that the Nationals have announced they will officially place four guys on the disabled list to start the season, the team’s opening day roster is very close to being finalized.
At this point, the position players are all set, manager Davey Johnson confirmed. The 13 position players that remain in the Nats’ big league camp will make the 25-man roster.
Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores will be the catchers.
Your infielders will be: Adam LaRoche, Danny Espinosa, Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark DeRosa, Steve Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy.
Your outfielders will be: Jayson Werth, Xavier Nady, Roger Bernadina and Brett Carroll.
DeRosa and Tracy could also see time at the corner outfield spots with Michael Morse injured.
Today will be a happy day for Tracy, Carroll and Nady, all of whom did not have spots completely locked up.
Johnson said that Bernadina is likely going to be his opening day center fielder with Rick Ankiel opening on the DL. The other option is starting Werth in center and having a reserve outfielder fill Werth’s spot in right.
“I reserve the right to change my mind, but right now I’m leaning towards Bernie,” Johnson said.
Johnson had yet to inform a number of the position players on the proverbial bubble that they had made the 25-man roster, but he joked that guys like Tracy and Carroll probably had been doing quite a bit of roster math on their own recently.
“They can count better than you or I can,” he said.
The only roster decision the Nats have left to make is who will occupy their final bullpen spot. That decision will be made tomorrow.
Righties Chad Durbin, Ryan Mattheus and Craig Stammen are the three guys fighting for that spot, although Stammen is expected to start the season in Triple-A Syracuse’s rotation.
There’s a contractual difference between Durbin and Mattheus - Durbin has an opt-out in his minor league deal which will allow him to become a free agent if he doesn’t make the 25-man roster, while Mattheus still has a minor league option left, meaning the Nats could send him down to Triple-A without exposing him to waivers.
Mattheus is more of a short reliever and could help fill the void at the back of the bullpen created by Drew Storen going on the DL, while Durbin is more of a long man.
But if the Nationals want to keep both Durbin and Mattheus in the organization, they would need to give their final roster spot to the veteran Durbin and send Mattheus to Syracuse.